Look up and sound the alarm—what’s going on in the skies?
Skywatchers say something big is about to happen, and they have zeroed in on a date—September 23, 2017!
That’s when the heavenly bodies will be lining up in a rare historical pattern to create the perfect prophetic storm.
End-time believers, both Christian and Jewish, see a momentous scenario developing in the skies just as depicted in Revelation 12. This is where the constellation Virgo—popularly known as “the woman” and considered to be the nation of Israel—is clothed, or covered, by the sun. At the same time 12 stars and planets align to make a crown over her head.
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of 12 stars. She was with child and wailed aloud in pain as she labored to give birth … She gave birth to a son, a male child, destined to rule all the nations with an iron rod. Rev. 12: 1,2
This scenario has Millennium clock watchers on the alert, believing it will set the stage for an apocalyptic event, as the heavens themselves play out a prophetic message about Israel and the end of the age.
Some students of prophecy believe it will usher in a new era–the beginning of biblical tribulation and the opening of the Seal judgments of Revelation 6. Others watch for the rapture, a snatching away of believers by Christ’s coming in the air.
As we get closer to September 23, the prophetic flurry is gaining momentum, and questions are popping up across the Internet, causing even some stargazers with a strictly scientific world view to get excited about the signs in the skies.
But most scientists, skeptics and would-be astronomers look at the stars and see business as usual. They agree that come September, the heavenly bodies will be lining up in an unusual historical pattern, but they shake their heads and say ho hum, it’s old news. It all has happened before.
While science-minded souls don’t question that an unusual celestial event will take place in September—after all, it’s written in the stars as well as in the Bible–many commenting online doubt that it has a prophetic meaning. (Not to mention that some astronomy sites stand firm on their credo that any strange signals from the sky may be signs of aliens).
In an article in the Catholic Astronomer, Christopher Graney, a professor of physics at Jefferson Community & Technical College, answered a reader who was curious about the validity of the Revelation 12 prophecy.
The question was, will the sky on September 23, 2017 mirror “signs” from the Book of Revelation in the Bible?
“It so happens that the sun will be in the zodiac constellation Virgo, which is popularly tagged “the woman,” he reported, “and the moon will be at her feet. The nine stars of the constellation Leo plus three planets–Mercury, Venus, and Mars–will be at her head, making up the crown of 12 stars.”
But as a scientist, Graney failed to find anything unusual about this lineup, and he cautioned readers not to get excited because the skies have showcased the same pattern before.
“The bottom line from the standpoint of astronomy is that there’s nothing unique or unusual about the sun, moon and planets—or the constellation Virgo—on September 23, 2017,” he said, “despite claims on the Internet of a unique and significant celestial event, supposedly mirroring the Bible’s book of Revelation.
“In the past thousand years, this same event has happened at least four times already: in 1827, 1483, 1293 and 1056.”
So what are believers expecting to be different about the same lineup of stars and planets in September?
They see what skeptics aren’t taking into account–factors that make this year unique on God’s timetable. Those who follow the Hebrew calendar can trace all his “appointed times”, including the Feasts initiated in the book of Leviticus.
The Lord said to Moses, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘These are my appointed feasts, feasts of the Lord, which you are to proclaim as sacred assemblies.” Leviticus 23:1,2
The sacred assemblies include September’s Feast of Trumpets and Day of Atonement, long acknowledged to be a time of repentance and restoration for Israel. This year’s Feast is set to occur just as the stars are gathering to crown the woman in Revelation 12.
At the time of this writing, there are 91 days, 3 hours, 26 minutes and 10 seconds until the Feast is celebrated in Jerusalem, according to Shepherd Ministries’ online website.
The site features a countdown timer tracking the days, hours and minutes until the Feast begins, which could be either September 21 or 22 this year. Website founder Mark Kinley explained that this is the only Feast in which the date is dependent upon the confirmed sighting of the new moon before it can officially begin.
“For that reason, there are always two days allotted and considered to be “one long day,” Kinley reported. “Since Jewish holidays begin at sundown, this feast may not officially begin until after the long day, which would be September 23.”
As the pieces come together in the skies to complete the prophetic picture depicted in Revelation, end-time clock watchers don’t overlook the significance of 2017 as a Jubilee year. In Leviticus 25:9 God commanded his people to commemorate a year of Jubilee, or release, to be observed after seven cycles of seven years.
You shall sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you. Leviticus 25:1-4, 8-10.
The 50th year was a time of redemption and celebration, for Jubilee involved a release from debt and bondage for Israelites. Every captive and slave was to be set free, and lands and properties were to be returned to the original owner.
So during Jubilee, both the land and the people had rest, Christian skywatchers beginning to catch on to the importance of Jubilees in God’s prophetic calendar believe the celebration has a special importance this year.
Since this Jubilee year ends in September during a time of repentance and redemption, some are asking, will this Jubilee finalize mankind’s redemptive period? Are the skies showing us that something big is on the way, pointing to momentous biblical events such as the rapture, the tribulation, and Armageddon?
Christian writer and researcher Dr. Peter Hofmann noted that since September 2017 marks the end of the 50th Jubilee, he considers it critical to events in prophecy. “I believe we are at a very important “Cosmic Crossroad” in time, both astronomic and historical,” he said.
“This crossroad is linking God’s time to man’s. Just as God used the stars to point to his first coming, it does make sense that he is again using the stars and constellations to point to his second coming.